Degree: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Theology

Duration:  Minimum of three years, a maximum of six years


Programme Rationale

The Doctor of Philosopy (PhD) in Theology programme at Uganda Christian University's Bishop Tucker School of Divinity and Theology is an academic and highly specialized research devree in theology within the African context.  The programme offers opportunity for the cohorts  to research in theology, African Christianity, pastoral, and biblical areas within the socio-economic and political African context.  This programme is also designed to prepare students for a vocation in theological instruction and Christian scholarly service and research for the church and society.  It provides opportunity for the cohorts to reatively and authentically develop their research and writing skills, which are valuable for critical and analytical engagements with contemporary African Christian issues/challenges for building of church and community.  


Research on this programme also emphasizes the study of the contribution of African religious communities and aspects of life in contemporary Africa.  These areas are highly resourced by the Uganda Christian University library, Church of Uganda archives, a century's experience and history of leadreship in theological education/ministerial formation, and rich opportunities for field research among faith communities in Africa.  


Thus, the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Theology programme is designed to enable the candidates to:

  • Develop a thorough understanding of the appropriate research techniques as shown by their application.
  • Develop competence in independent investigation and research.
  • Develop a high degree of independence of thought and approach.
  • Make significant original contributions to the existing body of knowledge in a particular branch of theology in the African context.


Entry Requirements

The formal requirement for admission to the Doctor of Philosophy in Theology programme is

  • A Masters degree in Theology, Religious Studies, or Theology and Development from a recognized institution of higher learning.
  • A Doctor of Ministry degree from a recognized institution of higher learning.


NB:  Candidates with a Masters degree in Theology that did not require the student to submit a dissertation for external examination may not automatically meet the entry requirements for this degree programme.


Programme Description

Programme Description

The Uganda Christian University Doctor of Philosophy in Theology programme comprises the following components:

  1. Preparatory reading and intensive graduate seminar sessions:
    The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Theology programme consists of nine graduate seminars.  Students will take at least five seminars in their designated major field, and for in their minor field, that will be selected with the guidance of the student's supervisor.  An advanced standing may be granted to studenst who have completed a D.Min., Th.M., or STM degree from a recognized institution of higher learning, which may allow them to satisfy the degree requirements with five graduate seminars instead of nine.

  2. Languages:
    Students entering the PhD in Theology programme are expected to pass the required language(s) or demonstrate competence in the required language(s) within the first calendar year of study:  Advanced Greek, Advanced Hebrew, Swahili (or another African language).

    NB:  The languages are offered with the masters groups in the Bishop Tucker School of Divinity and Theology.

  3. A total of five comprehensive examinations:
    Three exams will be from the student's major field of concentration, and two will be from the minor field of the student's concentration.  These will be done in the first three modules of the first year of the PhD:

    • Research Methods I and II
    • Advanced Biblical Theology
    • African Christian Theological Methods
    • Christianity in Africa
    • Theory and Practice of Mission in Africa
    • African Biblical Hermeneutics
  4. Appointment of the main Research Supervisor who will guide the candidate through his/her research proposal.

  5. Submission of the proposed research topic:  
    A research proposal completed to meet the Bishop Tucker School's regulations must be submitted first to the Dean.  The research proposal will be examined by the Faculty Board first, and then by the Postgraduate School.  After being examined by the Postgraduate School/Research Ethical Standards Commitee, the student will receive a written report on the feasibility of the research proposal.  If modifications are required, these must be completed promptly, and the research proposal re-submitted to the Postgraduate School for the last defense by the candidate and for full approval.

  6. Drawing a regular contact schedule between the candidate and the Research Supervisor on a monthly basis.

  7. Writing the thesis under the supervision of the University Research Supervisor:
    A PhD in Theology thesis is defined as a piece of written research embodying 80,000 to 100,000 words which forms a distinct contribtion to knowledge and professional skills, and affords evidence of originality.  A wide range of research topics may come from:
    1. Christianity in Africa
    2. Church and Mission
    3. Historical Theology
    4. Systematic Theology
    5. Biblical Studies
    6. Practical Theology
    7. Theology and Development
    8. African Christian Theology



The candidate is required to:

  1. Write and submit five comprehensive papers with a pass mark of 70% (three of which should be at a publishable standard); the papers should be between 10,000 and 15,000 words (20 to 25 pages at 1.5 spacing).  The candidate will also be subject to an oral defense.
  2. Conduct a searching reveiw of the literature relating to the research area.
  3. Undertake an original research project, which will result in a significant contribution to knowledge and understanding in a field of study.
  4. Complete a substantial and well-ordered thesis of between 80,000 and 100,000 wors in length, excluding appendices, demonstrating the relationship of the research to the broader framework of the field of study.

Submission and Examination of the Thesis

  1. Preparing to Submit
    Once the thesis is ready for submission, the School will notify the School of Postgraduate Studies and Research to arrange for final examination.  Doctoral candidates must have presented their work at two ore more professional or scientific conferences, and have at least two scientific papers accepted or published in a referred journal (acceptable to UCU standards).  Evidence of conference papers must be included in the notification.

  2. Assessment of Thesis
    When the thesis is submitted for external examiniation, it will be examined by three independent examiners (one internal and two external), who will normally hold doctoral degrees in the field that is relevant to the area in which they examine.  The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Theology thesis will embody independent research work of distinction, and will be deemd by the internal and external examiners to be worthy of publicaiton in whole or in part.  Assessment will include a viva voce.

    The candidate is expected to pass a PhD thesis of 80,000 to 100,000 words by a 70% pass mark.

Course Details

Curriculum Structure

The detailed curriculum structure for the Doctor of Philosophy in Theology programme is outlined in the table below showing the Course Names, Course Codes, Lecture and Practical Hours (L/PH), and Credit Units (CU) per semester.

NB:  The first year load for PhD amounts to 36 credit units.  The second and third year load of thesis writing amounts to 36 credit hours (a total of 72 credit units).






Year One, Module One


Christianity in Africa

PHD 1101 (elective)



Research Methods I

 PHD 1102 (core)



Advanced Biblical Theology

 PHD 1103 (elective) 60  

Year One, Module Two




African Christian Theological Methods

PHD 1201 (elective)



Language (Hebrew, Greek, African language (offered with masters classes)

PHD 1202 (core) 60  

Theory and Practive of Mission in Africa

PHD 1203 (elective)



Year One, Module Three




African Biblical Hermeneutics

 PHD 1301 (core)



Research Methods II: Proposal Writing PHD 1302 (core) 96  

Years Two and Three




Graduate Seminar (quarterly)

Research Field Work and Thesis Writing

 PHD 2101 (elective)












Career Information

The PhD in Theology degree is intended for leaders aspiring for a teaching career at undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral institutions.  It also targets people for aspiring for professional church/community leaderships.  With this goal in mind, the PhD in Theology is designed to prepare students for a vocation in theological instruction, Christian scholarly service, and for professional leadership in both church and society.